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Degree courses to be ranked in price comparison-type system

Degree courses to be ranked in price comparison-type system
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Prospective students will be able to compare the ratings of degree courses, under government proposals.

Subjects will be given a gold, silver or bronze award, and details will be made available about post-degree employment prospects, potential earnings and dropout rates, according to the Department for Education (DfE).

The system is billed by the government as a way to provide potential undergraduates with more information to compare courses on offer at different universities, and to expose poor-quality teaching.

Sam Gyimah, the universities minister, said it would help “ensure that more students get the value for money they deserve from higher education”.

The move is the next phase of the teaching excellence framework, which assesses universities on a range of measures including student satisfaction and what students do after they graduate.

The first university-level awards, which were decided by an independent panel, were announced last year, and the next round is due this summer.

The TEF came in for criticism from a number of top universities after many leading institutions failed to achieve the highest award.

Concerns were raised that the system did not fully measure quality and that potential students needed clear guidance about what the results meant and how they should be used.

The subject proposals have been published for consultation and, if introduced, the first ratings would be announced in 2020.

It is understood the subject-level awards and detailed information are likely to be made available on websites including those of the government and universities. They will also be used in performance rankings.

Gyimah said: “Prospective students deserve to know which courses deliver great teaching and great outcomes, and which ones are lagging behind. In the age of the student, universities will no longer be able to hide if their teaching quality is not up to the world-class standard that we expect.

“The new subject-level TEF will give students more information than ever before, allowing them to drill down and compare universities by subject. This will level the international playing field to help applicants make better choices, and ensure that more students get the value for money they deserve from higher education.”

A DfE spokesman said the ratings system would allow students to make “consumer-style comparisons of degree courses” and “this will shine a light on poor quality teaching and ensure that standards are driven upwards”.



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